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Why Europe's Center-Left Keeps Losing Elections

Conn Hallinan Foreign Policy in Focus
Voters can't tell the difference between the center left and the center right, and they don't want either. As the center-left accommodated itself to capital, it eroded its trade union base. Where center-left parties embraced unabashedly progressive policies, on the other hand, voters supported them

What Happened to Europe’s Left?

Jan Rovny The London School of Economics and Political Science Blog
Only a handful of European states are currently governed by left-wing governments, and several of the traditionally largest left-wing parties, such as the Socialist Party in France, have experienced substantial drops in support. Jan Rovny argues that while many commentators have linked the left’s decline to the late-2000s financial crisis, the weakening of Europe’s left reflects deep structural and technological changes that have reshaped European society, leaving left-wing parties out in the cold.

These Are the Elections That Will Decide Europe's Fate

Conn Hallinan Foreign Policy in Focus
While France teeters on the brink of the far right, left parties elsewhere are showing surprising strength. Predicting election outcomes is tricky these days, the Brexit and the election of Donald Trump being cases in point. The most volatile of the upcoming ballots are in France and Italy. Germany's will certainly be important, but even if Merkel survives, the center-right will be much diminished and the left stronger. And that will have EU-wide implications.

Portugal: The Left Takes Charge

Conn Hallinan Foreign Policy in Focus
Even though the right-wing Forward Portugal lost the election—it garnered only 38 percent of the votes—Silva allowed its leader, former Prime Minister Passos Coelho, to form a government. That maneuver lasted just 11 days. Coelho introduced a budget loaded with austerity measures and privatization. In the face of growing outrage and a threatened general strike Silva finally asked Socialist Party leader Antonio Costa to form a government.

Portuguese MPs Force Minority Government to Quit Over Austerity

Angelique Chrisafis The Guardian
The Socialist leader, António Costa, 54, is now expected to become prime minister in the coming weeks with a broad, leftwing coalition government, which hopes to ease austerity while still adhering to European Union rules. “The taboo has ended; the wall has been broken,” he said after the vote. “This is a new political framework; the old majority cannot pretend to be what it stopped being.”

Portugal's Democracy Crisis

Conn Hallinan Foreign Policy in Focus
A likely vote of no confidence in Portugal's hard-right government will signify whether voters in the EU can still choose their own government.

Portugal Government Fuels Debate About Democracy in Europe

Stephen Fidler, Patricia Kowsmann, Matt Moffett Wall Street Journal
An interesting article from The Wall Street Journal describing the current crisis of parliamentary democracy in Portugal in which the left coalition was not allowed to form a government, but the pro Eurozone forces will not be able to govern.

These Four Elections Could Decide the Future of Europe - A Coming Storm?

Conn Hallinan Foreign Policy in Focus
In upcoming votes for the European Union's most indebted countries, the left will have to battle both the forces of austerity and a resurgent xenophobic right. The backdrop for elections in Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland is one of deep economic crisis originally ignited by the American financial collapse of 2007-08. The response of the EU is massive cutbacks in government spending, widespread layoffs, and double-digit tax hikes on consumers.
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